Just wanted to put this together:
WASHINGTON, June 20 — House Republican leaders today abruptly canceled a planned vote to renew the Voting Rights Act after a rank-and-file rebellion by lawmakers who say the civil rights measure unfairly singles out Southern states and promotes multi-lingual ballots. But lawmakers critical of the bill mutinied in a closed meeting of House Republicans this morning just hours before the vote was expected to occur and several said it was uncertain whether a majority of Republicans would back the legislation at this point. “A lot of it looks as if these are some old boys from the South who are trying to do away with it,” said Representative Lynn A. Westmoreland of Georgia, who said it would be unfair to keep Georgia under the confines of the law when his state has cleaned up its voting rights record. “But these old boys are trying to make it Constitutional enough that it will withstand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court.”
Unfair! Conservatives are victims of the Voting Rights Act. The landmark civil rights law makes them feel all icky and sad inside. The New York Times was really too kind. The 2006 assault on the VRA was much more specific and targeted than implied:
Norwood Amendment (By Norwood, R-GA) which would have changed the formulas to determine states covered by Section 5′s pre-clearance requirements.
If you read the Times article, you will discover that (most) Republicans were embarrassed by their Right wing fringe and the opposition to the VRA. That’s right. Just a few years ago, most Republicans downplayed the GOP opposition to the Act, and shamed their extremist fringe into sitting down and shutting up. No more.
The Department of Justice weighed in today on the controversial Texas redistricting map that Gov. Rick Perry signed in May and civil rights groups argue intentionally weakens the Latino vote to benefit Republicans. The DOJ signaled their concern that the map discriminates against minorities and therefore violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The DOJ would usually have to “pre-clear” such changes to make sure they don’t unfairly affect minority voters, but Texas chose to skip that process, putting the fate of the new congressional map in the hands of a three-judge panel. In their court filing, the DOJ “den[ies] that the proposed Congressional plan complies with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act” because it does not “maintain or increase the ability of minority voters to elect their candidate of choice in each district” compared to the benchmark.
There’s much, much more than I’ve shown here. There’s lawsuit after lawsuit brought by conservative groups trying to gut or nullify the VRA.
“You have the federal government having to approve things, laws and ordinances, that are passed by local governments and state governments. You don’t see that in any other area,” says Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department official under President George W. Bush.
That’s what passes for an argument in conservative circles: “federal government” (bad) “approve things” (very bad) “any other area” (we’re victims, unfair). It’s a collection of Right wing anger-inducers. He’s their election law expert, and he’s constantly quoted.
If you’re a liberal and you’re wondering why you feel you are fighting the same battles over and over again, wonder no more. You are. The opposition never, ever quits.